After reports surfaced that one witness in the Patrick Kane investigation had been subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury, the Buffalo News is now reporting that the entire case as it stands will go before the grand jury. A 23-person panel of Erie County citizens will hear the evidence about the allegations of rape against Kane starting next week, according to the report.
The grand jury's role would be to hear all the evidence presented by the district attorney and then vote on whether there is enough evidence to sustain a criminal charge against Kane, those experts said.
Kane has been the subject of a police investigation in Hamburg, N.Y., for an incident that allegedly occurred at the Chicago Blackhawks forward's home on the morning of Aug. 2. He has not been charged with a crime.
Local law enforcement officials have been tight-lipped on the proceedings and now that the case is going before a grand jury, the details will likely remain hard to come by. Grand jury proceedings are kept secret by law.
Former Erie County D.A. Frank J. Clark explained the key factors in bringing this investigation to the grand jury in an interview with the Buffalo News.
Kane can be called to testify, but cannot be compelled to do so. It was also reported by Scott Levin of WGRZ that everyone that was in Kane's home on the night of the alleged incident has been subpoenaed to appear before the grand jury. Law enforcement officials could also be called to share information from their investigation.
NHL training camps open on Sept. 17. It is highly unlikely that a grand jury decision would be rendered by that time, but it is difficult to know just how long something like this will take.
If this process extends into training camp and beyond, the NHL could choose to suspend the forward indefinitely given that he is still the subject of a criminal investigation. The league has remained mostly quiet on this situation, but it's hard to see them allowing Kane to participate in team activities while the investigation remains unresolved.
That said, this is a major step towards resolving what has been a lengthy investigation.